Isn't it ironic? Learnings from a bike ride that went a bit wrong...
The last fortnight has been a bit of an interesting one for me. The Sunday before last life was ticking along as usual but I was preoccupied. I had some big decisions to make, where to live, what to do next, and I started to feel quite overwhelmed!
Exercise is often my “go to place” at this point so I decided to take myself off for a bike ride. Aware of the irony, as a mindfulness teacher, I knew I wasn’t being mindful. My mind was on loop! I wasn’t appreciating my surroundings I was just “thinking”….What decision would be the right one?! I couldn’t find a solution to the problem and so (suddenly realising the irony of the situation) I stopped. I allowed myself to experience the moment more intensely and I just focused on riding. Within only a few minutes of just experiencing the ride, the wind against my skin, the smell of the spring blossom, the beautiful colours all around, my mind started to settle. I then quite unexpectedly had an “epiphany”. It didn’t come from conscious thought, it was just a realisation. I realised that I was trying to “think myself out of a state of mind”. It wasn’t the “problem” that was the problem it was the state of mind that was the issue. The choice didn’t matter. It would all be OK whichever decision I made. The unpleasant feeling that I wanted “gone” wasn’t caused by the problem itself but rather the way I was approaching it. This came as such a relief to me and I was somewhat amused by the fact that I needed to reach my own “crisis” to fully remind myself that this mindfulness stuff that I teach every day, actually works!
Unfortunately (and again somewhat ironically) I then hit a hidden tree root and catapulted over the handlebars and landed on my head. I blacked out and on coming round found myself surrounded by worried strangers and the most unbelievable pain in my head. My helmet had come off in the accident (possibly the chin strap was too loose) and I was struggling to talk properly. A trip to A&E later I was told I had concussion and it may take some time before I was able to function normally. The beautiful irony of all this was that now I was pretty much “unable to think” and so the whole “thinking crisis” that had led me to take the bike ride in the first place had a rather unlikely resolution.
There is more to this story but for now I just wanted to share my experience of circular thinking. The learning for me has remained. That whenever we get ourselves into a state or “worry” we may be looking for the solution in the wrong place. I hope I never become a complacent mindfulness teacher but this accident certainly reminded me that I need to practice what I preach :D
See you soon!